So you want to explore Dream work? Wonderful! It's an excellent way to open yourself to communication with the Divine. And learning to work with symbols will increase your ability to manifest the reality you desire.
This is what makes it so popular with Wiccans and other spiritual seekers.
The real benefit, perhaps, is learning to interpret and understand the messages that your dreams are sending you.
There are various methods out there . . . . Most of them share a lot in common.
The method offered here is based largely on Swami Radha's decades-long, intensive exploration of dream work. Modified by my own experience, of course.
So let's jump right in. How do you get started? These articles will lead you through the dream work process, step-by-step.
Record Your Dream
The first step in the dream work method is, of course, to write your dream down.
You might be tempted to save time by doing dream analysis in your head rather than on paper. Don't! The power of dream work only comes when you write it down.
Have you ever done this? . . . in your head, you can think you understand something or see it clearly. But when you try to explain it to someone else, you can't?
It's the same with dream work. In order to really get clear on the meaning, you must put it to paper.
Two reasons. When you have to put something into words, you are forced to clarify your thinking and be specific. And the specific words use give you clues -- in a way your thoughts don't.
Please don't take my word for it, though. If you think you can do it without writing, try it. Then try it with writing. See for yourself how these differ.
Immediately Note The Highlights
Immediately after waking, before doing anything else, write down your dream.
Do this quickly. Don't worry about getting all the details; you can go back and fill in.
If it was a long or complex dream, start by making a few notes of the outline, so you will remember all the pieces.
Don't Make Assumptions
Avoid making leaps of logic to fill in gaps. For instance, in your dream you find yourself at your work place - to which your dog drove you - which is on a field of ice, and get out of the car from the passenger's side.
Note this, but avoid jumping to conclusions such as . . .
1) that you had been heading to your work place all along, and
2) that you must not have been driving the car.
In dreams, this kind of logical deduction doesn't apply and can be very misleading.
Be Completely Candid
Be as honest as you can. Everyone has dreams in which things happen that would be very embarrassing or even illegal or immoral if they'd happened in real life.
And there is a natural tendency to want to protect ourselves by glossing over some parts. But there's no need to do so. And if you do, you compromise the potential of the message that your dream can work out.
I remember dreams when I had sexual relations with people who were completely inappropriate as sexual partners in life, but in the dreams it often seemed perfectly natural and acceptable. Until I woke up!
The dreams didn't mean I actually desired those people. They were pointing to a desire for closeness in most cases, and a desire to be more like that person in some cases.
Remember that your dreams are encoded and rarely demonstrate their meaning in an obvious way. Then maybe it'll be easier to take that leap of faith and be completely honest in the privacy of your own journal.
If you are worried that someone else may read your dream and misunderstand, you can always use code words that only you will know. Or feel free to burn the dream after you've decoded it!
Filling In The Details
Before you go on, add any fine points that you missed on the first run-through.
You may find that you remember more, as you go through the dream. And you may have started out with an outline - always a good idea!
Now is your opportunity to go back and fill out the dream.
This is helpful, because the more details you include, the more clarity your dream will give you as you work it.
Clarifying the Chronology
This can also be a good time to straighten out the order of events, as best you can.
Events in dreamtime can be jumbled up. Sometimes it's impossible to sort out what happened first, second, third, etc.
Don't worry about it. This is a natural consequence of trying to remember a four-dimensional experience with a three-dimensional brain.
Simply make note of the order as best you can, and also note any uncertainties you may have of the timeline. Then move on. These won't interfere with your dream work at all.
Sign And Date Your Dream
Be sure to mark the date you had this dream, and put your signature at the end of it.
This may seem inconsequential. But long experience has shown that when you do this step, you take more ownership of the dream, and the work yields better results.
Title Your Dream
Come up with a title for your dream. It doesn't need to be fancy. "Dog Driving The Car" is fine: it's descriptive enough that you will remember the gist of the dream just by seeing the title.
You may do this at any step. You might know what you could call it before you write a single word, or maybe you don't really know until you've completely deciphered it.
Just be sure to give it some kind of name before you close the book on it.
The next step in the dream work process is to make note of observations that may relate to your dream. For instance . . .
Make note of any emotions you notice...
What feelings occurred within the dream?
What feelings did you wake up with?
What feelings that arise as you write out the dream?
For example, as you write, you may feel anger at something that happened in the dream, even though while you were experiencing it you took it in stride.
Or you may have had a dream that seemed happy, yet when you wake up in the morning you feel a pervasive sorrow.
This part seems so elementary, it's easy to overlook just how important it is.
Your feelings are probably your best clues as to what secrets the dream holds for you.
Just like in life, feelings point to what you need and value, and to the degree to which those are fulfilled. Your dreams are seeking to explain these needs to you.
Be as specific as you can. (You may want to use a list of feeling words to help you.) Don't jump to analysis yet . . . just make note of the feelings.
As you've gone through the dream work process so far, what are your initial ideas about the meaning of your dream?
This initial interpretation often gives valuable insight into your dream.
It's very easy for us to mislead ourselves. That's why dreams come in code! As you get better at facing your truth boldly, your dreams will become more and more straightforward.
Until then, the slipperiness of the mind is to be guarded against.
So your first impressions are likely to be more honest and accurate than later perspectives. Not always, but often enough that it's useful to make note of them.
Now make note of what is going on in your life right now.
Did anything happen during the previous day that stood out?
Anything that brought you concern or strong emotions?
What actions and reactions went on that you remember?
Also, make note of underlying issues that are going on in your life. Are there things you are struggling with?
Your dreams speak to what is real for you. They will always reflect what is going on in your life, although not always in that exact day.
Next Steps: Analyzing Your Dream
Okay, where do you go from here? Now that all the details and prep work are done, the next step is analyzing your dream. Please see the next article for details.
I am indebted to Yasodhara Ashram and Swami Radha's book Realities of the Dreaming Mind
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